Following a difficult year which found them in an over $20,000 deficit, the Agapè Centre is sending out a plea for assistance to the community.
“Our shelves are so bare it’s not even funny,” said Alyssa Blais, executive director, of the food bank which last year served 165,000 meals – equivalent to 3 to 5 days’ worth of groceries.
“We have to be very mindful of our money right now because we are in a deficit, but our clients are hurting, no question. We have a hard time packing bags for them and we’re really trying to moderate.”
Among the staples that they are in desperate need of, pasta sauce is high on the list. That’s one thing that we give to everybody, but we’re completely out, said Carilyn Hebert, volunteer coordinator.
“Peanut butter is another item that is needed. It’s almost seven dollars in the store and our clients need it for their kids; that are what they eat,” said Blais.
Even with school out, snacks for kids are in big demand, such as juice boxes, crackers, cake mix, cookies, bags of apples and oranges, as well as easy meal ideas such as hamburger helper.
“People don’t think that we can take perishables - fresh food, meat, dairy products, cheese and milk and bread and pastries- we have the space to store it and we see so many people in a day that it will never go to waste,” said Blais
This is the worst time of year for the book bank. With many people away on summer holidays, they are operating day by day.
Even with their high profile in the community at food drives and fundraisers, donations have been down. “It’s frustrating, said Blais. “We need a big influx right now.”